Epic Bromance?
June 7, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Summer reading list filter: Looking for books about romantic friendships (psychologically, or as a literary device, I'm not picky) and novels contianing examples.

This is just my latest funny obsession, and for all my googling I'm having trouble getting some good results. So I turn to the green for help!
posted by iarerach to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Do you mean same sex friendships?
posted by bq at 9:15 AM on June 7, 2011

Yeah, I'm not sure what you mean by "romantic friendships" either. Friends who become lovers? Lovers who break up and stay friends? Friends who everyone thinks "they'd totally be lovers if one of them switched genders"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on June 7, 2011

The title of the question is Epic Bromance.

Afraid that's all the help I can give you.
posted by Specklet at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2011

Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess contains (but is not exclusively concerned with) a romantic friendship between two men, one homosexual, one heterosexual.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2011

Romantic Friendship:

Perfectly respectable Victorian women wrote to each other in terms such as these: 'I hope for you so much, and feel so eager for you... that the expectation once more to see your face again, makes me feel hot and feverish.' They recorded the 'furnace blast' of their 'passionate attachments' to each other... They carved their initials into trees, set flowers in front of one another’s portraits, danced together, kissed, held hands, and endured intense jealousies over rivals or small slights... Today if a woman died and her son or husband found such diaries or letters in her effects, he would probably destroy them in rage or humiliation. In the nineteenth century, these sentiments were so respectable that surviving relatives often published them in elegies.... [In the 1920s] people's interpretation of physical contact became extraordinarily 'privatized and sexualized,' so that all types of touching, kissing, and holding were seen as sexual foreplay rather than accepted as ordinary means of communication that carried different meanings in different contexts... It is not that homosexuality was acceptable before; but now a wider range of behavior opened a person up to being branded as a homosexual... The romantic friendships that had existed among many unmarried men in the nineteenth century were no longer compatible with heterosexual identity.

posted by nooneyouknow at 9:37 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Would the Holmes and Watson friendship work? I especially like what Watson says in The Adventure of the Three Garridebs when he gets hurt and realizes that Homes cares about him:
It was worth a wound — it was worth many wounds — to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
The story's in The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes, which you can download here.
posted by zoetrope at 9:56 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

If you are familiar with the movie, they have sort of whitewashed the lesbian relationship out of it (although there are clearly undertones of a deeper love), but in the book Idgie and Ruth pretty clearly are more than friends and the whole town knows their relationship.
posted by ejazen at 9:59 AM on June 7, 2011

Maybe Henderson, the Rain King?
posted by mneekadon at 10:02 AM on June 7, 2011

I should think, though it's fantasy, that Sam's friendship with Frodo in Lord of the Rings would qualify. If that isn't epic bromance, I honestly don't know what is.

Definitely agree with the assessment regarding Sherlock and Watson as well. It's an added bonus that most, if not all, of Arthur Conan Doyle's work is out of copyright and therefore available on Project Gutenberg.
posted by ashirys at 10:19 AM on June 7, 2011

I wonder if the Aubrey/Maturin novels would count.
posted by not that girl at 11:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

While the relationship isn't romantic (they're children, after all), I'd say there is a level of friend-worship and literary bromanceriliness between biographer Jeffrey Cartwright and "genius" subject Edwin Millhouse in Edwin Mullhouse: Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954. (Uh, there's a whole lot of other stuff going on there, too, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Just read it; it's great.)
posted by Felicity Rilke at 11:26 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any book/biography that concerns Fitzgerald and Hemingway would probably qualify. The amount of drama and backbiting between them, despite their "fast friendship" in the Paris years, certainly conjures, to me, a very Jerry Springer type of romance.
posted by artemisia at 12:12 PM on June 7, 2011

male: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Yukio Mishima's Spring Snow and Runaway Horses, and on a lighter note, Wodehouse's Mike and Psmith books

female: L.M. Montgomery has Anne and Diana and Emily and Ilsa.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2011

Not sure whether you are looking for male friendships only (because of the bromance) but, if not, there's a raft of books on women's history, such as The Ladies of Langollen (Wikipedia), Surpassing the Love of Men, Intimate Friends, and Lyndall Gordon's recent biog of Emily Dickenson, Lives Like Loaded Guns, wch describes something of Dickenson's intense friendships (mostly with women, but some with men).
posted by paduasoy at 1:19 PM on June 7, 2011

Continuing on the female bromances theme, I have a real soft spot for Henry James' The Bostonians, replete with some spicy suffragette action and plenty of romantic subtext.

Have you read War and Peace yet? There's not really any romantic subtext going on in any of the bromances, but Andrei and Pierre (the two main characters, mostly) have a really epic, intellectual, deep friendship that's a joy to read. Plus W&P is a great summer read.
posted by libertypie at 2:02 PM on June 7, 2011

Epic bromance? Why not start with one of the first? Gilgamesh.

"Gilgamesh was called a god and a man;
Enkidu was an animal and man.
It is the story
Of their becoming human together."
posted by wg at 3:52 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Absolutely seconding the Aubrey/Maturin novels - one of the greatest romances ever written, friendship or no.
posted by sophistrie at 8:10 PM on June 7, 2011

« Older Can I live in Chattanooga?   |   Help Me Find This Painting Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.